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National study in Grand Rapids pushes for all residents to live within 10 minutes of a park



People living in the first and third ward of the City of Grand Rapids are the focus of the 10 Minute Park Campaign that took place this past March. Catherine Zietse with the Department of Parks and Recreation says they wanted to focus on underserved communities.


“The neighborhoods of focus in Grand Rapids were severely underserved with the amount of park space available per resident,” Zietse said.

While many residents in those neighborhoods may be within walking distance to a park, Zieste says the size, quality and amenities in the park weren’t as great compared to other areas in the city.


Most changes the city plans to make will enhance current park spaces, like adding picnic areas and playgrounds for families to gather.


“It’s a lot more benches and quiet places to walk to and to rest, and enjoy the benefits of our parks spaces,” Zietse said.


This, Zietse says, has countless mental and physical health benefits for residents.


“Studies have shown that your stress levels decrease when you live near green spaces,” she said.


Grand Rapids is 1 of 133 other cities to join the national efforts of the Urban Land Institute and residents can expect to see the changes take place next year.

Kayla Sosa is a general news reporter for WGVU Public Radio.